El caganer: Cataluña’s crazy Christmas tradition

23 Dec

The traditional Caganer

It’s called the caganer and if you were to translate it into English we’d probably call it the ‘defecator’, which sounds like some poor excuse for a superhero. In fact this little figure of a peasant boy ‘doing his business’ has become one of the most popular features of Christmas for children across Cataluña. The figure, dressed in a red beret, sash and black trousers, is hidden in the traditional nativity scene. Along with baby Jesus in his manger, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, angels and kings, no Catalan nativity scene is complete without its caganer.

Obama, like you've never seen him before...

The figure of the pooing boy has been around for at least two centuries and has come to represent luck and fertility. Traditionally the peasant boy would visit ‘el aseo’ in the field while working, hence fertilising the crops and making them grow better. He even has his own association dedicated to him called the Amics del Caganer. The main workshop is north of Barcelona outside Girona and people travel from all over Spain to buy their hand-painted caganer come Christmas.

As if the tradition wasn’t wacky enough, the modern take on it has seen caganer creators make famous spin-offs, all de-kegged of course. These range from Prince Charles and the Queen to President Sarkozy. This year’s favourites are Sponge Bob Square Pants, Lionel Messi, Pope Benedict XVI and President Obama (whose defecating ornament is adorned with the slogan ‘Yes we can’, perhaps a help to Obama in moments of constipation).

If you think these scatological Christmas decorations are just the thing your crib scene needs then check out www.caganer.com and order your own!

Choose your favourite!


Image 1: spiegel

Image 2: thepeoplescube

Image 3: email-junk


One Response to “El caganer: Cataluña’s crazy Christmas tradition”


  1. WordPress 2010 review for Hispanic London « HispanicLondon - January 2, 2011

    […] El caganer: Cataluña’s crazy Christmas tradition December 2010 5 […]

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